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PPL H@cks

PPL H@cks

Phoenix Public Library Foundation

Program Summary

Using Arduino, Makey Makey and Raspberry Pi, Phoenix Public Library (PPL) will host a series of open hack classes to show children and teens ages 9-18 how to use micro-controllers and micro-computers to create really cool stuff. The weekly open entry classes will center on guided learning topics such as relays, LEDs, small motors, banana keyboards and real life Minecraft. All library classes are free and open to the public and will invite up to 35 attendees per class on a first come first served basis. Hack-a-thons will be held in Digital Studio at the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix.

Library employees will mentor children and teens and help to guide them through difficult technology practices. Children and teens will be allowed to experiment in a safe, fun environment that will promote exploration and growth. Participants will be encouraged to mentor each other and work together collaboratively, creating a community of hackers. Participants will benefit by increasing their media and technology literacy, developing positive relationships with their peers in the fields of media, invention and technology, having access and opportunity to create original media and technology, and ultimately increasing their knowledge, skills and employability, becoming successful, contributing community members.


PPL will teach 3 three-week, introductory multimedia and technology courses on a rotating basis for the summer of 2013 with the addition of advanced course offerings in the fall of 2013. Courses will be offered to customers ages 9-18 at Burton Barr Central Library. PPL will also teach two Makerspace classes on a rotating basis for the fall and spring semesters. Burton Barr Central Library represents an under served portion of the population lacking in essential technical skills. The courses offered will rotate in a pattern in order to provide access to all of the technology on an ongoing basis and give participants an opportunity to learn a variety of subjects. 2 hour hack-a-thon classes will be held on a weekly basis on Saturday afternoons from July 15, 2013 through September 31, 2013. Classes will focus on children and teens but will welcome entire families to learn and create together. Classes will be open ended and include guided lessons from librarians but will allow for free range exploring and creative use of the equipment. Younger children and older teens will be encouraged to work together and collaborate on tech projects. The projects will center on hacking and creating with Raspberry Pis, Arduinos and Makey Makeys.
– The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV or monitor and a keyboard. It is a little PC which can be used for many things including games and high-definition video. Hackathons with Raspberry Pi will include assisting participants in building their own computers and then hosting a Minecraft or other game on the computers. Participants will learn how computers work in intimate detail.
– Arduino is a microcontroller that has a chip installed that can be programmed to do different things. Kids can learn to create code that monitors and controls light sensors, working motors, LED lights that flash in sequence and more. Hackathons with Arduino will include allowing participants to choose a project and then helping them to create a finished product that will show them how electronics and coding work.
– Makey Makey is an invention kit that allows users to turn every day objects into something that can talk to a computer. During Hackathons, participants will learn to take objects such as drawings on paper or fruit and set them up to “talk” to a webpage or internet program. Makey Makey will teach participants how to think creatively and use their imaginations to invent new technologies.
Hackathons will rotate using different equipment each week so that everyone who wishes will have a chance to experiment with all of the projects and equipment. This rotation will also allow an opportunity for participants to learn to guide lessons for their peers giving them a chance to show off what they have learned for the next group of learners.

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